gogollescent: (get angry.)
[personal profile] gogollescent
‘There is something in the misfortunes of others that does not altogether displease us,’ said Stephen, but nobody heard him in the general cry of ‘There she goes’ as the now distant Liberty slipped beneath the grey surface of the ocean.

‘No, sir,’ said Mr Dalgleish again, ‘you can sleep easy now. And so can Mrs – so can your betrothed, your financy. I forget the lady’s name. I hope she has not been disturbed by all the banging and calling out.’

'I doubt it,’ said Stephen, ‘but I will go down and see.’

He was mistaken. Diana was very much disturbed indeed. The first discharge of artillery had wiped out her already waning seasickness; she had misinterpreted the later gunfire and the uproar on deck, and Stephen found her dressed, sitting on a locker with a cocked pistol in either hand, looking as fierce as a wild cat in a trap.

‘Put those pistols down at once,’ he said coldly. ‘Do not you know it is very rude to point a pistol at a person you do not mean to kill? For shame, Villiers. Where were you brought up?’

The story of my Aubrey-Maturin affliction goes something like this: believe I am coming for best friends and handclasping; believe I have arrived at a place of best friends and handclasping; discover that I am actually here for the soap opera romance that everyone hates. Stephen and Diana are so great, though! I mean, by the time of The Yellow Admiral they're just this generically friendly couple who actually know how orgasms work, but man, the whole arc through Fortune of War to The Ionian Mission where Stephen falls out of love and Diana almost gets him killed through grand passionate attempts to save him from really confusing French authorities--that's… my favorite part of the series… yes. I can say that now. Because I'm done, and I know where the parts are.

I'm really sad about Diana. I was spoiled for her death literally from before I started reading--thank you, Stephen Maturin's Wikipedia entry--and when it came I brushed it off because I'd been braced for it, but god, they have, what, like two years of married downtime total? No future after the books end, no room for dramatic crises of faith when they're both ninety and Diana runs off to Russia to raise an army, no asexual but intense family arrangements with Clarissa Oakes. Wow. It is like POB desired to crush all of my dreams. But at the same time, I found myself thinking a lot about the fact that Diana dying young was sort of inbuilt? I mean, there's that whole extraordinary dream sequence that Stephen has when they're reconciled in The Letter of Marque, where he perceives her as being somehow namelessly doomed and is helpless to stop it--one of the few passages in the series where someone's premonitions and forebodings feel like more than just the true-life churning of their brain; I think because the sense of Diana as caged and warped and essentially injured by her time is so consistently and clearly rendered every time she appears, in a way that always sort of catches me up.

I keep waffling on how I feel about the actual method and moment of her demise. I'm unhappy about it, but I'm not sure how fair my dissatisfaction is, character biases aside. I wish we got to see the reactions of people other than the Surprises-around-Stephen and Stephen, especially Sophie, who also loses her mother in the accident and who according to my already defunct memory doesn't get a POV section to herself at any point after. I wish Stephen thought of her more, especially given that his attraction to and courtship of Christine must bring her at least a little bit to mind, and just because it would be nice to get memories of her to cap off her involvement in the series, haha. Blurgh. The last few books did leave a sour taste in my mouth, which is a shame, because I love all these guys, in their fictional multitudes.

.../downloads Horatio Hornblower

Date: 2013-03-08 01:05 pm (UTC)
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
From: [personal profile] hedda62
I've read this series mumbleummanytimes (although I often skip the last few books, because yes, sour taste like wine gone bad, oh Stephen, oh Bonden) and the Stephen-and-Diana arc is one of the things that keep me rereading, along with the sheer sense of time and distance that is always so impressive. I have written a little about O'Brian's time-fiddling, but it's also just that feeling that we don't see enough of from on shore but can intuit, of their being gone so long when they're gone, which of course messes Diana up more than she already is, and Stephen too, but also makes them who and what they are. And I love that in the early arcs he keeps traveling places and finding her there: India, America. It's enormously romantic and they hate that so much and can't resist it, and that's exactly how I feel too.

I like "affliction" as a description. Glad you have caught it.

Date: 2013-03-08 06:38 pm (UTC)
hedda62: my cat asleep (Default)
From: [personal profile] hedda62
Actually, come to think of it, he sees her in carriages (or some mode of transportation) unexpectedly all over the place - India, Sweden, France. Can't remember how he first sees her in America. I suppose that may be a precognition of her death, in a sense, though I doubt O'Brian had thought that through at the time, though he has when she's whipping them over the bridge and Jack can't help but comment on how fast she's going. It may just be that she... goes. He falls in love with her when he sees her on a horse, I think. And then there's the balloon. Forgot to say before that the balloon dream is one of my favorite bits in writing ever.

And the age thing makes no sense (wasn't Stephen supposed to be about thirty in 1801?) but that's probably authorial license - it would have been nice at O'Brian's age to gaze at your ravaged character and say, "Oh, but he's so young."

Date: 2013-09-08 04:11 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] julianyap
I just got sucked in to another reread of this (hello! I don't know you at all but I found this blog today after reading your excellent fic, and I can never resist sharing in the delight of the Aubrey/Maturin books). Stephen and Diana's relationship is for me one of the high points of the series, in a series filled with wonderful relationships: Stephen and Jack, Stephen and Sophie, Stephen and Brigid, Brigid and Padeen, Stephen and Bonden... hmmm, written down it may just be that Stephen is my favaoritest character. But I had a great deal of cathartic delight when they finally get married, and after that the matter of factness of the love in their relationship is delightful. I actually refused to read the Hundred Days this time because it would only annoy me to have to read about how she died.

I hope you liked the Hornblower books. I was somewhat dissapointed because of the lack of the messy and wonderful human relationships of the Aubrey/Maturin books. Hornblower has the shipboard adventures down--though lacking the wonderful descriptions of the food--but it totally lacks the Jane Austenness of everything that happens by land.

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